AUSTIN, Texas – The Latest on Match Play (all times local):
Takumi Kanaya of Japan is headed to the weekend of the Dell Technologies Match Play in a surprising turn of events.
Kanaya needed only 14 holes to beat Lucas Herbert of Australia and force a playoff to decide who would win the group. Herbert looked to have it in hand with a tee shot in the fairway that left him 93 yards away. Kanaya was in a bunker with such a poor lie that he could only advance to the fairway, 86 yards from the hole.
Herbert played a conservative wedge to 18 feet above the hole. Kanaya used the slope of the green for a shot that spun down to 2 feet for a sure par. Herbert's downhill putt to win slid just under 3 feet by, and he shockingly missed the par putt to lose the match.
It was the third playoff to decide group play. Kevin Na birdied the 18th to win his match and advance to a playoff with Maverick McNealy, and he won on the first extra hole. The other playoff went six holes before Scottie Scheffler beat Matt Fitzpatrick.
That tied the tournament record for longest playoff in group play. In the single-elimination version, the longest match twice went eight holes over regulation.
At least one more playoff was still to come between Viktor Hovland and Will Zalatoris.
For the second year in a row, Scottie Scheffler had to go extra holes to win his group in the Dell Technologies Match Play.
Six holes, to be exactly.
Scheffler had to beat Matt Fitzpatrick to have a chance, and that was no problem. He won, 5 and 4, and they tied group play with a 2-1-0 record. After waiting a few hours for all the matches to go off, they returned to the first tee for the playoff.
Fitzpatrick made a 10-foot birdie on the first hole, and Scheffler matched him from 3 feet. On they went until the par-5 sixth, where Fitzpatrick chipped to 15 feet and missed the birdie putt, and Scheffler won with a 6-foot birdie.
A year ago, Scheffler and Xander Schauffele halved their match and went to extra holes. Scheffler won, and then reached the championship match.
Brooks Koepka won the last hole to beat Shane Lowry and win his group without a playoff, while Jon Rahm lost his match and still won the group.
Kevin Kisner also advanced. He build a 5-up lead on Justin Thomas through nine holes and wound up beating him in 15 holes. Also advancing was Adam Scott, who had no trouble beating Jordan Spieth.
Richard Bland won the Battle of Blighty and is headed to the knockout stage of the Dell Technologies Match Play.
The 49-year-old Bland faced 48-year-old Lee Westwood in an All-England match that featured the two oldest players in the field. They have known each other since junior golf. Bland won on the 17th hole and won his group.
Bland only became eligible for the 64-man field two months ago when he was runner-up in the Dubai Desert Classic. Now he still holds out hope of advancing far enough on the weekend to move into the top 50 and get to the Masters.
Dustin Johnson also is playing this weekend at Austin Country Club. He was 2 up over Max Homa, assured of a half-point he needed to win his group.
The winning streak of Billy Horschel at the Dell Technologies Match Play is over. No matter. He halved his match with Thomas Pieters, and that was all he needed to win his group and move into the knockout stage this weekend.
Horschel is the defending champion. His streak dated to the third day of round-robin matches last year and he still had effectively miles to reach Tiger Woods and his record 13 straight wins. That was when the entire tournament was single-elimination. Geoff Ogilvy once had 11 straight wins until losing in the championship match in 2007 the year after he won.
Tyrrell Hatton was undefeated in his group and advanced by beating Daniel Berger. Also advancing was Seamus Power of Ireland. That all but assures Power will stay in the top 50 in the world and get into the Masters.
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